Thursday, 14 July 2011

New CTS pamphlets on child abuse and AIDS

Continuing with the latest pamphlets added to the CTS’s list, two in the CTS Explanations series deal with controversial topics concerning which the Church continues to be attacked both from within and without.

Dr Pravin Thevathasan’s The Catholic Church & the Sex Abuse Crisis has attracted attention already. It is notoriously difficult to write anything on this highly-charged subject without being attacked in one way or another, so it is not surprising that he should be misquoted and misrepresented. In fact, the pamphlet is a fair and balanced presentation of various aspects of this gross evil and the Church’s response to it.

As a psychiatrist, Dr Prevathasan competently assesses research on the harm caused, the profile of the offender and what actually happened in the USA, Ireland and Europe. He looks at the causes, and in one chapter singles out, rightly in my view, the “therapeutic culture” which led to a climate of permissiveness in some seminaries, and an inadequate response on the part of the Church. He quotes one of the most glaring examples of this: when the serial molester Fr John Geoghan was told by his Archbishop “Yours has been an effective ministry impaired by illness.” The more recent measures taken by the Church are set out, and the conclusion looks soberly at some of the statements of Pope Benedict, and the Irish Bishops commitment to prayer, fasting and reparation.

For anyone confused by media reports and wondering how to get information that would help them to answer some of the now routine slanders and sneers against the Church and all her priests, this pamphlet summarises an unpleasant subject with competence and fairness.

Matthew Hanley’s name has been on the blog several times before, and the CTS have chosen wisely to engage him to write on The Catholic Church and the Global AIDS Crisis. Again, many ordinary Catholics will be confronted with this question and will welcome a good summary of the evidence, facts and arguments which can help people to think more clearly about the question.

Hanley looks at the competing approaches to HIV prevention, the ideas that determine policy and, most importantly, what has worked and what has not. Importantly, he highlights the success stories in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Haiti and gives proper recognition to the people in the Church who get on with the work of caring for those living with HIV/AIDS, regardless of race, religion or personal convictions, noting that the Church is the largest provider of AIDS-related care in the world.

The CTS Explanations series has provided Catholics with serious and reliable pamphlets on moral and social issues that are accessible to the ordinary Mass-goer. The latest two titles are worthy additions to this fine apostolate. The pamphlets can all be ordered at the CTS website. There are other reviews and more at the CTS Compass blog.
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